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Engage youth in climate change solutions - official

15 Mar 2023

 Engaging African Youths in conversation on climate change crisis is crucial as they have ideas, solutions and motivation capable of solving the climate crisis.   

By involving the youth, does not only mean inclusion, but also important for economic growth, innovation and health security.

The Manager for Global Health Strategies, based in Kenya, Mr Ouma Onyango said this when speaking on the role of youth in building resilient health systems in a climate crisis, at the just ended Africa Health Agenda International Conference 2023 in Kigali.  

He said African countries were experiencing some of the worst impacts of climate change adding that the climate change threatens healthcare availability saying it was vital for youth in Africa to indirectly and directly be involved to activate pressures that reduce capacity of health systems as well to manage and adapt to shocks of climate change.

Mr Onyango said climate crisis was changing the context in which health services were delivered adding that the health services should be adjusted to meet the challenges.

He thanked Amref Health Africa for the timely issue, to debate as African youth saying integrating climate into health programming and understanding the linkages was essential to improve efforts to strengthen health systems to ensure that there was health resilience to all.

He urged the health systems to promote and build the required partnership capacity across all the levels and foster multi-sectorial partnerships to increase health system resilience.

The re-emergence of old viruses, bacteria, increased cases of water-borne diseases, due to global warming, increased transmission of animal diseases  to human content, such as monkey pox,  has forced African youth to focus on climate change.

A technical Specialist at World Health Organisation (WHO) based in South Africa, Dr Shakira Choonara said even things that could be considered small such as tobacco, has huge impact as it does not only damage the health system, but also causes environmental pollution.

Dr Choonara called for a global level advocacy adding that elevating youth voices on climate action would contribute to closing the gaps on climate and health adding that the youth have to be practical about it.

For his part, Dr Frankline Wirsiy Youth Advisor at Africa Centre of Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) based in Cameroon, said according to research it has been reported that 10-30 per cent could create a norm in modeling and developing greenhouse emission, saying the youth therefore as they categorize the majority, climate change would be tackled.

Dr Wirsiy further said among things that youth could do, was to include, identify existing opportunities and gaps in Africa youth led climate action, such as advocate for solar use in community , using led lights and reducing plastic use.


Source : BOPA

Author : Lesedi Thatayamodimo

Location : Gaborone

Event : Africa Health Agenda Conference

Date : 15 Mar 2023